Part of our survey which finished at the end of May 2022, was remote office working arrangements. You know how attorneys are sticklers for policies and procedures right? Or is it only when it comes to drawing up such policies and procedures for their clients? Because…
45% of the respondents said that their law firm did not have a Work From Home Policy! That could be because they don’t want to make use of remote working – but surely, they would want to get some sort of guideline when it came to sick people working from home or when traffic is too heavy, or heaven forbid another lockdown! Surely every single business should have a remote working policy in place?
What percentage of your staff work from home?
Although the biggest percentage of people still work from the office, this graph 30 months ago would not have been talking point, and just about 100% would have working out of the office building.
Interesting observation here is the number of firms that have all staff working at home. Obviously most of these evolved during COVID (although I did know of a few virtual firms long before COVID), and once the firm, staff and systems got used to it, they cemented it as the new normal. I would imagine there would be substantial savings in rent/maintenance, parking and travel to mention a few, but also a better life for the staff who don’t have to fight traffic to and from the office each day.
I believe the number of firms who only work from the office will continue to shrink in the near future. I see a need for smaller central admin nerve hubs for a law firms growing, and often a group of firms using pooled resources in such hubs. In-person meetings would be held at such hubs, staff that need to work together in the same physical space would also work from the hub – in short a central nerve hub that allowed most staff to work remotely.
What is the future strategy for remote working?
As you can see, my future vision has already arrived – Office Only in the future is down from 42% to 32%.
Hybrid Remote and Office seems where people think things are going. I agree with this, as more people will be mobile, the less time they will spend at the office, the more the firm will drop dedicated offices for hot desks, where space will be shared and a lot smaller than what we are used to in law firms.
Shared workspace services will grow as a business, but as I said earlier, I think these will become industry specific, where more than bricks and mortar can be shared.
Happy Staff are Productive Staff
Something not in the survey, but surely law firm management must want what is best for their staff. And some staff enjoy the “escape” from the madness at home and use the time to zone out of the one part of their life for a while – it probably works for them.
Either way, allow your staff the freedom to choose if possible. If it does not work, adapt it and try again…if it stumbles three time shoot the horse and bring them back to the office.
Hybrid working is here to stay. Hybrid means a mixture of different things, it could mean 10% of remote working and 90% of office bound, or 90% of remote working and 10% of being office bound. Just don’t stop evolving the way you and your staff work most productively.